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macbest

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About macbest

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Bay Area, CA, USA
  • Interests
    Cruising, cooking, wine
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Regent
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Tahiti

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  1. I think this is marvelous to get such a list. Would have loved to see all the options as opposed to continually asking for something new vs bringing the same wines back each time.
  2. Trip summary This was a fantastic cruise vacation! We both thoroughly enjoyed the ship and the excursions were wonderful as I detailed earlier. The food was spectacular (the highlight? The escargot in CR continues to be unbelievable) and the service even better. Service in Compass Rose really stood out for us this trip. It’s elegant but not stuffy. Best way to describe it. We continue to love the “left side” - always available items in CR. They really picked some high end items and ,made them available anytime or for mix and matching with those items that change daily. And the new pool grill concept at dinner worked really well for us when we got back late from an excursion and didn’t feel like changing. That burger in the evening is awesome. I will also mention there was only one or two teenagers on the ship. I didn’t see anyone younger. I guess that could be good or bad. For us it was good. Most of the guests on board seemed really friendly and outgoing. We met some very nice people on the two “paid” Regent choice excursions. Keep these in mind when you pick excursions. These were the highlights for us. The weather was ok to good. We had some rain but we got through it. February is a great month to enjoy the Caribbean with its more moderate climates and still warm ocean water for swimming. Things I continue to like about Regent and this cruise Reidel stemware for wine glasses. Very nice. There are at least three different sparkling waters on board. If you don’t mention which one you want they give you the generic. Perrier (no sodium) and Pellegrino are also available. Ice and lemon are always available just by asking. Towels in public bathrooms. And the little paper towels to lay over the door handle when you leave. I continue to like this. Oh and the public restrooms are generally really nice compared to other cruise lines. On Voyager they were a little small. But this didn’t pose any difficulties. How so many staff members call you by name. I love that personal service. We had an awesome, super quiet room, 866, Penthouse B. It was located close to the aft elevators which on the Voyager is a short elevator ride to all of the restaurants. That isn’t the case for example on the Explorer. There was no noise in our room throughout. No squeaks or rattles, no hallway noise, no tender drop or rising noise. It was super quiet. And of course no pool side chair noise since we were well below deck 11. We were also about 30 yards from the laundry but even then it as on the other side of ship so no laundry noise (more typically from the people there and not the machines). Perfect location for no vibration, no sounds of tenders being lowered or raised, etc. Highly recommended location. Comfy balcony chairs Penthouse suites had nice amenities included. Stain remover, purse holder for table, spray disinfectant for hands, eye glass cleaner etc. I will note, however, that the carpet was stained in the penthouse suite and the door lock took 3-6 times of inserting key card to open (someone came and “fixed” it but it didn’t change). The Penthouses are in need of a cosmetic facelift. Things I didn’t like There were really only three areas I would like to see addressed. Chair hogs. Ridiculous. And no staff would dare move the chair hog stuff after 30 min. I spoke to the poolside help and they wouldn’t want to get written up by doing their job when the hog complains. We observed way too much of this on this cruise. However we did find a surprise for a great place to hang outside on a lounge chair. You will have to PM me on this one. When sailing, the cigarette smoke on the starboard side of the pool deck (deck 11) floats all down to those on loungers on that side. Gimme a break! So 50% of the pool deck when sailing is unusable if you don’t smoke or don’t like smoke. On explorer they put them in a separate “room” by the pool. This badly needs to be considered for a retrofit. And surprised to see that there is a smoking section on deck 5 aft, port side. If you are near that end in an aft suite be aware that smoke will likely travel up. So starboard by the pool and port side aft on deck 5. US, 110v plugs by both beds (like on Explorer) vs the European plugs would be more up to date. If you need power on both sides of bed best to bring your own European converter for both sides. The house Chardonnay was Sebastiani. The still free upgrade was Wente Morning Fog. This is a $6.99 chardonnay. The included wines used to be better. And there were no good Pinot Noir included choices unless you went to the premium list. And that only had two California Pinot Noirs (I know they can’t carry everything but there were numerous other varietals). I can’t recommend highly enough Regent - again. We booked on board (actually through the new program that let’s you enjoy all the benefits of booking onboard but by doing it anytime 30 days before your cruise. This way you didn’t have to wait for the cruise consultant to find time to meet with you. A great addition). Next up will be Iceland and Greenland on Explorer (our favorite ship), July 2020. Seems like forever away.....
  3. We have been enjoying the heck out of our Butler, Roshan. Never knew what I would use one before when we first got one on a late upgrade a couple of years ago On the Voyager Hong Kong to Beijing. Now we have it down. We have had had a few small issues with our room that were addressed nicely by letting the butler know. The opulent that gets our room tomorrow will have it all dialed in! We have him come to our room at 5:15p each day with a new canapé and to fix us a drink. For me a Hendricks and tonic which he makes in the room along with a fresh cucumber slice he brings daily. And a glass of Wente Chardonnay wine for my wife. That is a real treat! He has escorted my wife to dinner with the classic look from others, “Who is she?” He arranged each night a great table for us in whatever restaurant we were going to in addition to finding a couple of waiters we would be pleased with. He arranged the special carrot cake mentioned above, He made sure we had copies of the menus for the next nights dinner each night so we could plan accordingly. He got us into Prime 7 when they were full. He found a filled out disembarkation form in our room that I kept failing to turn in and turned it in for us. He also spoke to the appropriate head waiter or similar when we first got on for staff that were not friendly. They all have turned it around and just needed a little “nudging”. Well he took care of it. It is this type of anticipation that I just love. So big call out to Roshan, our Butler. Going to be hard to go back to the “real world” starting tomorrow.
  4. Couple of great meals since I last posted. Three nights before the end, and a wonderful chicken egg roll showed up as an appetizer in CR. Nice and hot, crunchy and yet soft. Delicious. Served with a hot and spicy sauce. Nice start. I haven’t said anything about the intermezzo. Each day a new sorbet is available and all have been excellent. Different than what i have had off the ship. Today’s was a cucumber and mint which had just the right level of palette cleansing you would want. Turkey night! With all the trimmings I asked for just white meat and that is what you got. Wife doesn’t care much for this meal so she had the seared ribeye steak that CR does so amazingly well. Each night they also have a new dessert soufflé. Who does that? Most cruise ships you are lucky to get even one soufflé the entire cruise! This one was pistachio and oh so yummy. Another great meal in CR! —————————— The captains farewell night (which is typically two nights before the end of the cruise) is usually my favorite night for my number one dish - beef Wellington. This one did not disappoint. Nice mushroom duxelle and perfectly cooked (medium rare) and pastry that was crispy and a great Syrah wine sauce (always ask for extra sauce - it’s the law)! For the entire cruise there has been no carrot cake which is my wife’s favorite dessert. So I asked our Butler a day prior to ask if the kitchen would make one and without raisins which she also doesn’t care for. I didn’t tell my wife I had done this. Imagine my wife’s surprise when two pieces came to our table. She saw Roxanne bring them from the kitchen. She said, “oh my goodness I just saw carrot cake. That wasn’t on the menu!” When it came to our table she was flabbergasted. I loved it. “Surprise!” A fitting end to a fabulous dinner. And a happy wife.
  5. Not really, if anything it got worse. Today is a sea day. The first of two before we return to Miami. It has been bad the entire trip. We went up at 7:30a s morning and every last lounge chair in the shade was taken with only 10 people sitting in them. It’s terrible. Very upsetting. Alas at lunch some ray of hope. Some security person was about to remove someone’s items when the lady rushed over. She was lounging on another lounger in the sun! So taking two up herself! Just then the man lying next to where this woman was going to be - and clearly unrelated - started yelling at the security woman. And I mean nasty. I was ready to jump in to defend her as he was being beyond inappropriate. This chair hog person wasn’t there for well over an hour in the latest period and I think not there much at all today other than when she placed herself likely before 7:30a. They ended up calling down a senior officer as both the woman who was being told to leave and the man who just yelled at the security woman weren’t budging. THe security lady walked away to compose herself. I got her name. And walked up to her and thanked her for what she was doing. It is out of control. Why would anyone want that job? A towel staff person or a cocktail waiter certainly wouldn’t want it. They need a new system. Maybe some type of plastic card that they put on the lounger that is empty with a time on it. They come back in 30 min (or heck even make it 45) and if still unoccupied then they remove their stuff. Like they do when they stripe your tires in a timed street parking. Of course I’m sure the chair hogs would just figure a way around that also. Sorry to rant about this otherwise fantastic cruise. Since the ship is at capacity you really feel things like this and it is disappointing. Best solution? Be sure to get a balcony big enough to hold your own lounge chair.
  6. Have a great time. We will be getting off the Voyager on Saturday. She will be all ready for you. When we got on they let us into our rooms at 12:30. A full two hours before normal.
  7. Excursion update. At St Bart’s we had booked Nikki’s beach hangout which we were looking forward to. As I stated previously, they cancelled it due to operational reasons. So we rebooked a “Sailing the Leeward Coast) which included swimming and snorkeling at a beach. A very relaxing sailing day and while the swimming was nice, snorkeling was nearly non-existent in terms of seeing fish. But we would do it again if Nikki’s beach wasn’t available. Afterwards we walked around town and shopped. That was a bust as it was mostly Madison 5th ave type shopping. A few photos along the way: Steering by foot by the captain ———————— today we did the scenic tour and Marigot shopping excursion in St Martin/St Maarten. Big mistake. Originally scheduled for 9:30 it got moved to 7:50a start. We went to Marigot to go shopping and we arrived at 9 only to stay till 10 (somewhat expected). What wasn’t expected was that all the stores were closed until 9:30-10! So we were there too early! And even the numerous “bistros” they talk about in the tour description were closed. What the heck? Total bust. I would have demanded a refund had it not been an “included” excursion. They left us off in Phillipsburg (Dutch side) for shopping which at least had stores open. We paid to ride on a water taxi $5 each (we were told it was $3 each on the tour) but still had a long hike back to the ship. One final note. Look at this picture of 4 cruise ships in port today: Which would you rather sail on? The Voyager is the second from the left. There were like 13,000 people from ships in town today. Ugh. I’ll take Regent any day.
  8. Over the last three days, nothing appeared on the compass rose menu that was appealing to us (and we have been saving “left side” items for when we can’t get in anywhere else.). So three nights ago we went to chartreuse, which o recorded above. Two nights ago to Sette Mari (you pretty much have to line up at 6:30p when they open unless you want to wait till second round about 8:30). The veal Marsala was stellar. Super tender and I ordered extra sauce. As was the eggplant parm. Both shown below. So last night, we worked with our Butler to pull his magic and try and get us into Prime 7 and he did! We have had issues the last few cruises at Prime 7. Earlier this cruise it was very good (we stayed away from the steak which is often way undercooked). We we ended up choosing “wisely” last night. Wife ordered the Seafood Plateau which is all served on ice as an entree. Lobster, king crab, shrimp, jumbo scallops. It was excellent. I chose the small plate strip loin which is a 6oz piece - more than enough vs the 12 oz regular piece especially when you have the tuna and avacado tower and the clam chowder! Before hand! Interesting I was thinking that since they would cut the steak open to serve it (it was supposed to be sliced but as you can see it was just two pieces) that they would see if it was cooked correctly prior to it being served. Even though i ordered it medium it came, as usual, as rare. But I suffered through. Frankly the size was perfect and coupled with their excellent sides and some bearnaise, it was delicious. For dessert, for someone that loves ice cream, you can’t pass up the Carmel peanut popcorn Ice cream sundae. And An order of key lime pie and we were done. Another excellent meal!
  9. Yes it was. Called Nicole’s Table. $149pp When we were there this week, our driver said that it was heavily damaged and under major reconstruction. He said not really open yet.
  10. Was sorry to hear you weren’t able to join the cruise. Read about your mishap. We both feel for you as you never know when something can happen. The original CC meet and mingle was scheduled for Day 2 at 10a which was dumb since we were supposed to be at the private island. Then they switched it to the first sea day same time (Day3). Alas I had already booked a massage for that time so was not able to attend. Always enjoy those as a way of breaking out and meeting others with the same passion. We have met a number of very nice people on board (the small group excursions I mentioned above have all been wonderful people that have attended.)
  11. Yes it was. It wasn’t on the original excursion list when we were allowed to first start booking excursions. I went back several months before we sailed and redownlaoded the list. There were a number of excursions added maybe consistent with this new more specialty type excursions they have been advertising. This one was $149pp (less I think 10% for a PH suite). Well worth it. We had a group of 12 so it was a nice size. The culinary walking tour of San Juan was also a late add by regent ($119) which we did and discussed earlier. Finally a visit to Nikki’s Beachclub (I think $119) was added to St Bart’s which we were really looking forward to as the place where all the celebrities hang out. We just arrived in St Bart’s and there are quire a few luxury yachts here so it could be true. Alas, this was one of the excursions they cancelled on the first day due to “operational” reasons 😩so something to think about. Keep checking for late adds!
  12. You can always ask for something else if the wine they serve isn’t to your liking. chartreuse always has different French wines as their mainstay. What surprised me was this complimentary list that has so many white and red wine choices by the glass. And yes, all complimentary. I’m not sure I saw everyone with the list but they did offer it to us (as a reference we see only “Gold” members so it wasn’t a level perk).
  13. Pictures of the cooking school in St.John Antigua, “Nicole’s Table” A view from the patio. Another view from the hilltop patio you can see the Voyager in the distance Part of the bounty that we chopped hopped and diced. Waiting for the rest of the meal we prepared to arrive. Backyard patio overlooking the ocean. Rum punch setup to help yourself. Just like at a friends home. a coconut tart we made. Delicious fresh herb garden
  14. Nicole’s table. What a phenomenal experience. We signed up for a cooking school on our trip in St Johns Antigua. On the top of a hill, this family runs a cooking school nearly six days a week out of their home. A nice gentle breeze and views of the island make the meal and experience that much more wonderful. You dig in and help! A multi course meal is prepared (we did one on jerk seasoning). I’m a pretty accomplished chef and I learned a number of new things! It is truly like you are in someone’s house cooking along with them. You end up sitting at this beautiful table overlooking the island. What is not to love about this. On vacation, cooking, beautiful views oh and some adult beverages! What an amazing day.
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